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In memory & Legacy

RUH Will Month returns for November

Our ever-popular RUH Will Month is returning in November to help the public make or update their Will at a reduced cost. You can now book your appointment to have your Will written with participating legal firms.

Ten legal firms across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset are taking part and their fees will be donated to the Royal United Hospitals Bath’s fundraising charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Special procedures have been put in place to ensure that clients will be in a safe environment during appointments.

RUH Will Month will run for one month only, helping people put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £125 or a standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills written for £175.

Jan Witt, the Appeal’s Tribute and Legacy Manager said:

“It may come as a surprise that fewer than half of the population have an up-to-date Will, despite its importance in offering you peace of mind and security for both you and your family.

“Often having a Will written can be expensive, therefore, we’d like to urge people to take advantage of this Will writing offer at the reduced rates to ensure your savings and possessions go to the people and causes you love and care for.

“It is easy to take part in this offer, simply call any one of the participating solicitors listed on our website and make an appointment for November, quoting ‘RUH Will Month’. At the meeting the solicitor will guide you through the process and will ensure that your Will reflects your wishes.”

This is the sixth consecutive year that RUH Will Month has run with substantial funds being raised every year for various causes across the hospital such as the Dyson Cancer Centre, research programmes and specialist medical equipment.

This year funds raised by the initiative will be put towards the charity’s speech and language special appeal. The Appeal is raising £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties. The equipment will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the X-ray clinic which can sometimes take a number of weeks.

The need for the mobile equipment has become even more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who have been on a ventilator have a 30% chance of suffering from swallowing difficulties. So, having this machine will really help the Speech and Language Therapy Team to assess COVID patients, either in ITU or in other parts of the hospital.

Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said: “Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.

“Having this machine will be a game changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”

However, participants can choose to support another campaigns or special appeal if they prefer.

Interested in having a Will written? Contact one of the participating solicitor firms as soon as possible as appointments get fully booked quickly. The full list of solicitors can be found on our website click here

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Kelly’s tribute fund raises over £25k for Dyson Cancer Centre

A tribute fund that was set up in memory of a young mother who lost her battle with cancer has raised over £25,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal.

Kelly Ross was only 32 when she died in 2015, leaving Jack (11 months) and Ruby (3) behind. She had always spoken about supporting the Appeal, so her family decided to set up a personal tribute fund through the charity to fundraise towards the new Dyson Cancer Centre at the hospital.

Five years on and the family have organised and taken part in a variety of events and challenges, including football matches, raffles and running marathons to name but a few.  Earlier this year year Kelly’s daughter Ruby, now 9, organised a coffee morning in their home town of Devizes and raised £1,700.

With fundraising activities being cancelled this year Kelly’s brother Ashley with his wife Katie and brother in Law, Jason Muir, decided to take on their biggest challenge yet by attempting a non-stop version of the White Horse Trail, a 80-mile hike that links all of the White Horses in Wiltshire. Friends and family joined them for sections of the three-day trek and they were greeted at the final White Horse by Kelly’s parents, as well as Ruby and Jack.

Following the event Katie said: “From the bottom of our hearts thank you so much to everyone who has donated, joined us and sent messages of love and support. We couldn’t have done it without you all. We are all doing this for Kelly who is worth every penny, every blister, every ache and pain!”

More than £3,000 was raised from the hike, bringing the grand total raised by the tribute fund since its inception to over £25,000.  As a result the family are now Senior Partners of the charity and will see Kelly’s name in the Dyson Cancer Centre.

Jan Witt, Legacy & Tribute Manager at the Forever Friends Appeal said: “The Forever Friends Appeal relies on the wonderful generosity of families out in the community who wish to celebrate the lives of their loved ones through fundraising. Setting up a personal tribute fund really does help make a really big difference to the patients and their families who are cared for at the RUH.

“Acknowledging the Kelly Ross Tribute Fund as a Senior Family Partner is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything her family, friends and colleagues have done in her honour.”

To find out more about setting up a tribute fund in memory of a loved one please click here


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NEW! Free online will service

We are pleased to have launched a free online Will-writing service to help the local community make or update their Wills from the comfort of their own homes.

To offer this service, we have partnered with Beyond, one of the UK’s top online Will-writing providers to provide the service. The cost for a single will is usually £90, but for a limited period it is being offered free of charge.

Jan Witt, Legacy and In Memory Manager said:

“We are delighted  to team up with Beyond to offer a free, quick and easy online Will writing service to the local community. We fully understand that during these uncertain times, many people are thinking about their current situation and wish to put their affairs in order. We are therefore pleased to offer this free online will service to enable everyone to make a Will, giving them peace of mind.

“This offer is free for a limited period and there is no obligation to leave a gift in your Will to support The Forever Friends Appeal. However, we hope you’ll be inspired to kindly leave a ‘gift of care’ in your Will, no matter what size, to help the RUH continue to provide the high quality of care it gives to its patients and their families for the future.”

Gifts in Wills for the RUH are used to benefit many areas of the hospital including funding pioneering research, additional medical equipment, building projects and the refurbishment of wards and facilities.

Beyond’s online interactive Will service provides easy step-by-step instructions means the process to make a legally binding simple Will should only take about 15 minutes. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible and joint Wills for married couples are also included in the offer. Every Will is checked by one of Beyond’s in-house legal experts.

Ian Strang, Beyond’s CEO said:

“Beyond are committed to protecting UK families by helping them easily write their wills online. We’re proud to partner with the charity, The Forever Friends Appeal and support the crucial work they perform for the communities of Bath.”

To take up the offer and for more details click here 

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Patient funds new scanner for RUH ward

Patients on the Gastroenterology ward at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH), Bath are benefitting from a new scanner, thanks to a former patient who funded the machine.

Bath resident Liz Daniel, who spent five weeks on Haygarth ward wanted to give something back for the care she received. After speaking to staff to find out what she could do, she funded a bladder scanner which cost £7,500.

Liz, who suffers from LA Amyloidosis, a very rare condition said: “The RUH has been there for me on several occasions and my first admission was on to Haygarth ward back in 2000.  My most recent stay was last summer. I am so thankful to the nurses on the ward for their wonderful care.  I’m sure having their own bladder scanner will make a huge difference to the staff and patients.”

The scanner uses ultrasound to scan a patient’s bladder to determine its volume, and is a valuable diagnostic tool. The procedure is painless for the patient and takes only a couple of minutes to complete.

Vanessa Barthez, Medical Nurse Practitioner on Haygarth ward said:

“We are so grateful to Liz for this generous gift. Many of our patients need to have their bladders scanned to assess their need for catheter intervention.  Having our own scanner means that we can get immediate results in a non-invasive way.”

The purchase of the bladder scanner was facilitated by the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Thanks to the application of Gift Aid, the ward was also able to purchase extra equipment, given by Liz as a tribute to her late husband, Reginald Jack Daniel OBE.

To find out more about our Appeal and the ways you can support the RUH please click here

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RUH Will Month raises over £30,000

Actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow has praised the 14 solicitor firms who waived their Will writing fees and donated collectively over £30,000 to our charity.

This incredible amount was generated from participation in our RUH Will Month campaign which Simon helped launch last year.

Simon Callow said: “What a terrific result. It’s so important for all of us to have an up-to-date Will. Well done to all those solicitors who gave their services free-of-charge and to the people who signed up to RUH Will Month. The money raised will make a real difference to the care of patients across all wards and departments.”

The fourteen solicitor firms drew up professional Wills for the public at a reduced rate – £100 for a single standard Will and £150 for a standard Mirror Will or Joint Will.

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer said: “I’m so grateful to who participated in RUH Will Month 2019. By waiving their fees and passing them on to The Forever Friends Appeal, they have provided vital funds for a number of our appeals, including the refurbishment of the Breast Unit, to which it contributed £13,200. Thank you also to those members of the public who took part to make 2019 another really successful year.”

Dr Clare Marchand, RUH Respiratory Consultant, who signed up to the scheme said: “My husband and I had been meaning to sort out our Will for a while, as we knew how important it was to do, and taking part in the RUH Will Month finally made it happen! We feel much more reassured now we have a Will and we think the RUH Will Month is a fantastic idea and would very much recommend it to others who do not have a Will or their existing one needs updating.”

RUH Will Month will return for its sixth year in September 2020. More details can be found here

We’d like to thank the following solicitor firms for taking part in our 2019 RUH Will Month scheme:

  • Bath solicitors:
    • Bath Wills, BLB, Burningham and Brown, Helen Starkie, Mowbray Woodwards, Mogers Drewett and Royds Withy King
  • Somerset solicitors:
    • Ames Kent, Harris and Harris, Mogers Drewett, Thatcher and Hallam and Wards Solicitors
  • Wiltshire solicitors:
    • Farnfields Solicitors and the Chippenham, Malmesbury and Trowbridge branches of Forrester Sylvester Mackett Solicitors
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Husband raises £25,000 in his wife’s memory

A tribute fund set up in the name of local resident Lindsay Game has raised over £25,000 for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre at Bath’s Royal United Hospital (RUH).

Lindsay, who lived in Chew Stoke, was diagnosed with breast cancer 31 years ago. While receiving treatment at the RUH, she became a supporter of The Forever Friends Appeal and decided to start fundraising for the RUH Cancer Care campaign.

In 2015, the cancer returned and she was told it was untreatable – sadly, in 2017, Lindsay passed away. Her husband Nigel wanted to continue raising funds for The Forever Friends Appeal and set up the Lindsay Game Forever Fund to keep her memory alive.

Nigel said: “Lindsay and I always wanted to support the RUH in all its good work. Supporting The Forever Friends Appeal was foremost in our minds. Anything that can make life easier for cancer sufferers must be a worthwhile gesture of goodwill.

“Everyone who Lindsay met was compassionate, reassuring her that she was receiving the best treatment available. I cannot thank the hospital enough.”

Lindsay’s Forever Fund was set up through the Appeal with the aim for family and friends to have the opportunity to help it grow by fundraising in honour of Lindsay whilst making a difference to future patients living with cancer and being treated at the hospital.

Over the years a number of fundraising events have been held, ranging from coffee mornings to Ceilidh band nights (a mixture of Scottish, Irish and English folk music) in the local village and in 2019 alone, Lindsay’s Goddaughter, Ali Wilkinson raised over £1,000 by skydiving, while family friend Dave Cox raised almost £500 by running the Bath Half Marathon.

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are awe-inspired by Nigel’s achievements in raising over £25,000. Lindsay’s determination and passion to help future RUH patients has definitely been embraced by all her family, friends, businesses and the local community as we have watched her fund grow over the years. We were delighted to be able to thank and acknowledge the amazing fundraising efforts by presenting Nigel with a Senior Family Partner Award under our charity’s partnership scheme.

“We understand the impact that the loss of a loved one can have on families, friends and colleagues. For some, there is a need to have something to focus on which offers a meaningful remembrance, such as setting up a Forever Fund in the name of their loved one. Having a Forever Fund gives people the opportunity to come together, pay tribute and celebrate special memories in a very personal and positive way, whilst supporting the work of the RUH.”

For information about Forever Funds click here or email Jan.Witt@nhs.net

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Generous donation helps lead the way in the treatment of Lupus

Patients being treated for the debilitating auto-immune illness lupus at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre are to benefit from a £250,000 legacy.

This generous gift was left to our charity in the will of a former patient who wished to make an impact for future patients and invest in further research carried out in this area of work.

The RNHRD, which recently moved from The Mineral Hospital to the RUH’s Combe Park site, is already a designated Centre of Excellence by Lupus UK – one of just seven nationwide.

The hospital has an international reputation for its research into a range of rheumatic conditions, including lupus, and its rheumatology team provides both specialist and general rheumatology services for adults, children and adolescents.

The lupus service is led by three Consultant Rheumatologists, all specialists in autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorders – Dr Ellie Korendowych, Dr Sarah Skeoch and Dr John Pauling, and is supported by two Nurse Specialists, Jaliah Norcott and Sarah Smith as well as specialist Rheumatology therapists.

Dr Korendowych said: “October was national Lupus Awareness Month and this incredibly generous legacy via our hospital charity The Forever Friends Appeal will help us to continue the fantastic work we are doing in lupus research to support our clinical and research programme.

“The RNHRD is the only Lupus UK Centre of Excellence in the south west, something we are extremely proud of and which reflects the hard work and dedication of all our staff.

“Our number one priority is providing high quality care for our patients and research underpins everything that we do. We work closely with Professor Neil McHugh, Honorary Consultant at the RNHRD and Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath.

“Professor McHugh established the lupus service at the RNHRD and has an international reputation in research into this field. We are planning some exciting research projects in collaboration with the University of Bath to further enhance our knowledge of lupus and the impact it has on our patients.

“We run a dedicated lupus clinic and also work very closely with our colleagues across the RUH, particularly in Obstetrics, Dermatology and Respiratory medicine where we hold combined clinics for our patients with lupus.”

Jane Batchelor (pictured below), who has been treated for lupus at the RNHRD for over 20 years, said: “I’m always impressed with the continuity of care I receive. You are being treated by people who have vast experience in what is quite a rare condition. It’s the same team too – familiar faces who know you and your history. I have to come for infusions every six months and it’s always a very relaxed, low-key, yet professional environment.

“I’m very grateful for the care and support I’ve received over the years at the Mineral Hospital, which I am confident will continue at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre.”

Systemic Lupus is a life-long illness of the immune system, a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself through an excess of antibodies in the blood stream. This causes inflammation and sometimes damage in the joints, muscles, skin and other organs.

Studies have shown that nearly 1 in a 1000 people living in the UK have Systemic Lupus. Approximately 90% of sufferers are female and it is most common to develop the condition between the ages of 15 and 55.

Gifts in wills are a vital source of funding for the Trust and the work it does in research, trials, medical treatment and caring for its patients., These gifts have underpinned many projects, discoveries and achievements in many of the research programs throughout the hospital’s history, leading to better diagnosis and treatments, and improving patients’ lives not only now but in the future,

By leaving a gift in your will to The Forever Friends Appeal, you can become a part of the journey to understand and help defeat many illnesses – your legacy will be life-changing.

To find out more or talk in confidence about leaving a gift in your will to support future research programmes, please call Jan Witt. Legacy Officer on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net

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A generous legacy helps continue vital cancer research

A recent legacy from a generous former RUH patient has provided another five years of funding for research into oesophageal cancer – one of the most common cancers in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases .

According to Cancer Research UK, over 9,000 cases are diagnosed every year and oesophageal cancer has a particularly low survival rate of just 12%.

Dr Ben Colleypriest, Clinical Lead for Gastroenterology at the RUH has been working in collaboration with the University of Bath for the past 15 years researching oesophageal cancer.

He said:

“This generous gift bequeathed to our charity The Forever Friends Appeal will ensure that our important work will have a huge impact in continuing this vital research for another five years, funding a PHD student at the University of Bath. We are extremely humbled by this person’s kindness for choosing to support us in this way.

“We are undertaking gene research to understand why normal oesophageal cells change to Barrett’s Oesophagus, an incurable condition caused by acid reflux that is a precursor to oesophageal cancer. If we can understand the molecular cause of Barrett’s Oesophagus we can better understand how to reverse it and prevent oesophageal cancer.”

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are extremely grateful to the late Mr Bolton for leaving his legacy towards one of many hospital’s life-saving research projects that will help to develop new and better treatments. The Trust has an excellent reputation for its research and clinical trials that play a vital role in gathering evidence to improve treatment and care for patients in the NHS.

“For many people, choosing to support the RUH by leaving a gift in their Will is their way of giving something back to the hospital that will undoubtingly change the lives of future generations. We know that many treatments that are used every day would not be available if it wasn’t for investment from charitable gifts bequeathed to the work of the hospital.”

If you are considering supporting the RUH in this way and would like the opportunity to hear more about the research taking place at the RUH, please call Jan Witt, Legacy Officer on 01225 825819. Alternatively, to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will click here.



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Friends and family go extreme in memory of their ‘absolute hero’

The family of a Malmesbury man have raised more than £12,000 in his memory to fulfill his wishes and raise money for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

Michelle Dench and family friend Sienna Sky have completed some incredible fundraising challenges in memory of John Price, who was treated at the hospital for chronic myeloid leukaemia and myeloma before passing away last year. A tribute fund has since been set up in his name to continue raising funds for the RUH.

Michelle, who herself is a cancer survivor, ran the ‘Race to the Stones’, a 100km ultra-marathon along one of the oldest trails in Britain, the Ridgeway, this summer. She completed the race in 16 hours, 46 minutes and 33 seconds.

Michelle said: “The last 10km was tough, but I had his walking poles so he helped me every step of the way. My dad is my absolute hero. His strength and determination helped me get through my own cancer treatment with a positivity that I didn’t know I had in me. He was always so grateful for the help and support he received at the RUH and was actively involved with The Forever Friends Appeal fundraising team.

“One thing I remember him saying to me was ‘I can deal with having cancer but it really upsets me when I see little children going through treatment; it’s not fair’.  It is a shame he will never see the new cancer building finished, but I know he was so glad to have helped a little along the way. That is what we are trying to do as a family; to continue his hard work.”

Malmesbury resident and singer/songwriter Sienna Sky did a wing walk and raised over £1,000. Strapped to the wings of a biplane she bravely sang ‘Fly me to the Moon’ while the plane performed a series of zoom climbs and steep dives.

She said: “It was an absolute joy for me to take on something so terrifying, yet so exhilarating, in order to raise a wonderful amount of money towards John’s fund.”

Perhaps more sedate, but no less impressive, the family also held a golf day which raised £3,300 and John’s wife Helen and daughter Louise took part in The Forever Friends Appeal’s Walk of Life earlier this year.

The family also raised £7,000 through coffee mornings and Michelle’s marathons while John was alive.

Through support from the public and major donations, The Forever Friends Appeal continues its RUH Cancer Care campaign to raise funds for the Dyson Cancer Centre. To make a donation to the charity or find out about the Dyson Cancer Centre visit: www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk/ruhcancercentre.

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The top 10 reasons why you should make a Will

Wards Solicitors’ Partner, Ruth Coles, who is part of the Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team based in Keynsham, explains….

Making a Will is something a lot of us put off for a whole host of reasons – the time, the hassle, the perceived expense or simply just not wanting to think about our own mortality.

In fact, there are currently 31 million people in the UK who run the risk of dying without a Will, meaning their estate would be distributed solely under intestacy laws and not according to their wishes.

So, here’s a ‘Top 10’ of the reasons why making a Will, and regularly reviewing it, is so important:

  1. A correctly drawn Will is an inexpensive way of avoiding difficulties for your relatives and friends in the future in the event of your death;
  2. It’s far cheaper than the cost for your relatives of sorting out your estate if you die without a Will and avoids financial stress at a time when they are already having to deal with your death;
  3. It puts you in control of the final destination of your estate and brings you peace of mind and freedom to enjoy your life knowing that your family, friends and the charities of your choice will be provided for as you wish;
  4. You can appoint people you know and trust as the executors of your Will to deal with your estate and make sure everything is handled as you want for your beneficiaries;
  5. You can appoint Guardians to look after any children you have under the age of 18. This means that the courts don’t need to get involved and you know you have chosen people who share your beliefs and values;
  6. You can appoint trustees to look after any money you want to leave your children until they reach the age when you want them to have it. This is particularly important if you have been divorced as control of this money could otherwise go to your ex-spouse;
  7. A regularly updated Will means you won’t miss out on fast changing tax laws that could save your family thousands of pounds in death duties including new Inheritance Tax rules and the additional ‘residence nil rate band’ threshold;
  8. You can be clear about what kind of funeral you want, setting out everything from whether you want to be buried or cremated to the hymns and service you’d like;
  9. Unless you make a Will, unmarried partners and those who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit;
  10. There are some key times in your life which should act as a prompt to making a Will or updating an existing one. These are: buying a house, getting married, moving in with a partner, getting divorced, having children.

To make your appointment please contact Wards Solicitors Keynsham office on 0117 986 3504 quoting RUH Will Month, or the office of any participating solicitors’ firm local to you.

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